El Vino Pródigo: daring to take the plunge

Pedro Peciña Gil has built his own business in San Vicente with the vineyards he inherited after his mother’s early death.

At the age of 24, Pedro Peciña Gil, whose father is a producer in Rioja, understood that he had to fly solo to make his very own wines. He had studied oenology, but decided to learn the trade away from home: "I learnt a great deal in the two wineries I worked for in Rioja, but I realized that I needed to improve my English". He sent CVs to the US and got a job over the phone at a winery in Texas. Pedro Peciña crossed the ocean and a year later he was back in Rioja. Pedro's mother, Merce, died very young, aged 38, and the winemaker had inherited some vineyards in San Vicente: "With €3,000 and the help of some friends I launched El Vino Pródigo.” The name —The Prodigal Son— is a true mission statement, as is his first wine La Viña de la Merce. A tribute to his mother, the label features a grapevine with three clusters hanging from it (Pedro and his two brothers): "It's a fantastic 35-year-old Tempranillo vineyard in Rivas de Tereso, with the freshness of one of the highest areas of San Vicente,” explains the winemaker.

La Viña de la Merce is his flagship wine, while Placeres Sensoriales comes from Santa María, a 25-year-old goblet-trained vineyard. It is a stunning carbonic maceration red dedicated to his wife: "To produce wines in San Vicente without making a full cluster wine is disrespectful,” he chuckles. His third wine, barely 3,000 bottles, comes from El Bullón, a very old property in the upper part of San Vicente: "It covers 0.4 hectares and is one of the first vineyards to be planted after phylloxera. It is mostly Tempranillo, but there are some red and white vines that are not even catalogued.” His wine Prodigus Venit comes from this site. The label, featuring a figure wearing a hat and carrying a bundle "full of dreams", has a few letters written by Martín, his son. His latest release is a crisp rosé called Bohemian Rapsody, in honour of his daughter. As well as working on new ideas, he has embarked on a new project called Brujo Wines alongside his friend Javier Rojo. Peciña has bought a plot of land in San Vicente to build his own winery. "For the time being, I 'live' in the van (the 'Prodigoneta'*), adding more and more kilometres to the odometer…,” he says. "I started selling my wine to friends in Haro and San Vicente, but I am now present in eight countries and in small wine shops and restaurants in Spain. I want to make wines with very little intervention and, although people may say I have no choice," he laughs, "I like my wines almost natural, with just a little sulphur and tartaric if necessary.”

*Translator’s note: a play on words with 'furgoneta', which means van in Spanish, and the name of the business